By David J. Stewart
“For whom he did foreknow, he also did PREDESTINATE to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29). Does God choose some people for salvation and not others?
Whosoever Will May Come
As we learned in the previous chapter, “WHOSOEVER WILL MAY COME” for salvation. The invitation to be saved is to WHOSOEVER... “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And WHOSOEVER WILL, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17). Whosoever will may come to be saved. This is the freewill of mankind.
We read in Romans 10:13, “For WHOSOEVER shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” God is a “whosoever God.” He says that anyone may come to the throne of grace for salvation. All that God asks is that we come by way of faith in Christ Jesus alone. There is NOTHING in the Bible about God choosing anyone for salvation. Mankind has been given a freewill by God to make our own decisions.
Predestined to be Conformed into Jesus' Image
Let’s look at Romans 8:29 again... “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate TO BE CONFORMED TO THE IMAGE OF HIS SON, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Predestination means that God has chosen us “to be conformed into Jesus’ likeness.” The Bible does NOT say anything about being chosen for salvation. God knows in advance who will be saved and who won’t but He does NOT choose who will be saved or lost. We decide to accept or reject Christ of our own freewill.
Nevertheless, there are still those who teach that you cannot be saved unless God first chooses you—this is utter foolishness. This false teaching is popular amongst the followers of John Calvin. May I say, we ought to SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES as Jesus commanded in John 5:39 and not follow the errant teachings of flawed men such as John Calvin or Jacob Arminius. Phooey on Protestantism with its unbiblical sacraments and all the other writings of men which distort the Word of God. The Bible should be our Final Authority as believers.
The truth concerning predestination is that God looked ahead in time, in His foreknowledge, and saw those who would one day be saved and He predestinated them to be conformed into Christ’s likeness. The Bible doesn't say that God predestinates anyone to salvation. No, rather, the Bible says that God predestinates them to be CONFORMED to the image of Christ. This is what predestination means. God has predestinated for my life to be conformed into Christ's image, and directs the events of my life as such.
God Has a Predestined Purpose for Every Believer
God has many plans for each and every Believer! “In whom also we have obtained AN INHERITANCE, being PREDESTINATED ACCORDING TO THE PURPOSE of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Ephesians 1:11). This is very interesting! God has a purpose for every Christian. Jeremiah 1:5 declares, "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." God had a predetermined purpose for Jeremiah before the prophet was even born. God has a purpose for all His children. God works all things according to His own will. This is why Romans 8:28 teaches that all things will eventually work out for good for all Believers, “And we know that ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
Notice that all things are NOT good! The Bible says that all things will WORK OUT for good. You WILL experience pain, suffering and loss in this earthly life. Fortunate are those who have had the opportunity to enjoy a rich and happy life with little problems down here; however, most are not as fortunate. There are billions of people living in poverty right now. Millions of children are dying in other nations because of starvation and lack of simple vitamins. Most people don’t know what suffering is. Yet, we all have our heartaches and problems in life. Even in a wealthy nation like the USA which has been greatly blessed by Almighty God, pain and suffering are all too common. No one in this life is immune to loss, sadness, sickness, disappointment and hurt. The Bible does not promise paradise on earth; on the contrary, God told Adam and Eve that they would suffer in pain and toil. Howbeit, the Bible promises that ALL THINGS will work together our good in the end. We know at least that all things will be good when we get to Heaven to be with the Lord.
Predestined to Receive an Inheritance from the Lord
Most people don’t associate the word “predestination” with Romans 8:28. What does predestination have to do with the things in my life working together for good down the road? It has everything to do with it.
You and I have been predestinated to receive an inheritance from the Lord. Let’s read Ephesians 1:11 once more, “In whom also we have obtained AN INHERITANCE, being PREDESTINATED ACCORDING TO THE PURPOSE of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Ephesians 1:11). God has so many wonderful things for us when we get to Heaven, we cannot even begin to imagine all that will happen. God has given us the Holy Spirit as a “down-payment” or as a “token of His promise” that He has purchased us and we have an inheritance in Heaven, “...ye were SEALED with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the EARNEST of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:13,14). The word “earnest” means “pledge.”
A Believer knows that they are saved because they have the Holy Spirit—God’s pledge to every Believer that He will perform all that He has PROMISED to do for us as His Children. Do you have the Holy Spirit living within you? I do! God has given me the Holy Spirit to let the Devil know that I have been PURCHASED By God. I have been purchased with the blood of Jesus Christ. I am a Child of the King, a member of God’s Family. So the next time you think of Romans 8:28 when things are going bad, remember that ultimately we all fall into God’s divine plan which He will accomplish. No matter how bad things may seem here on earth, be rest assured that our Heavenly Father is still on His throne and is in absolute control, we have NOTHING to fear. Bad things will always happen in life, but someday (within God’s predestinated plan) we will all be very happy and content in the Lord. It’s just a matter of time!
What God Has Started, He Will Finish
Moreover whom he did PREDESTINATE, them he also CALLED: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified” (Romans 8:30). The word “called” means “to invite.” God invites all men to salvation, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to ALL MEN” (Titus 2:11). If God chose people for salvation, then Titus 2:11 would not be true. The grace of God has appeared to all people everywhere (an invitation to be saved). What we do with that invitation is another story. The word “called” can be misleading if you take it our of context. We must interpret this verse within the context of the complete Word of God. There are plenty of Scriptures teaching that salvation is available to anyone who wants it. This doctrine of predestination simply means, “what God has started, He will finish!” “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you WILL PERFORM IT until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). God will continue with us ‘til the end of this life and beyond. God will never leave us or forsake us... “...I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). What a wonderful God!
For those who are saved, God predestinates them to become like Jesus and to receive a divine inheritance... “Having PREDESTINATED us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will” (Ephesians 1:5). God wanted those who would someday be saved to be as His own Children, so God adopted them. If you are saved, you are an ADOPTED child of God. Now Jesus is the “only begotten” Son of God but God has many “adopted” sons and daughters. For those who receive Jesus as their personal Savior, God has already predestined them to be adopted. God says, “You accept Me and I’ll adopt you as my very own child.” A good father tries to leave an inheritance to his children and to his grandchildren... “A good man LEAVETH AN INHERITANCE to his children's children...” (Proverbs 13:22). Truly, God is the greatest of all Fathers and has provided us with an inheritance in Christ Jesus. I believe day-by-day God is preparing things for us in Heaven. Is this not what Jesus said in John 14:2, “...I go to PREPARE A PLACE for you.” This is all part of the predestination of God. God foreknew who would be saved and decided to do all these wonderful things for them. Oh how God loves His Children!
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